Costovertebral joints | Acland's Video Atlas of Human Anatomy Skip to main content


As we saw in the section on the spine, the rib articulates with the adjoining vertebrae at two points, the head, and the tubercle. The head of the rib has two articular facets. The two facets articulate with the vertebral bodies above, and below, to form the costovertebral joint.

This surface on the tubercle of the rib articulates with the tip of the transverse process, to form the costo-transverse joint. These two joints are synovial joints. They permit the movements of the rib that occur in respiration.

The joints between the ribs and the vertebrae are held together by ligaments. The strongest of these are the radiate ligament here, and the superior costo-transverse ligament here.

The movement of the ribs is important in respiration, as we’ll see later in this section.

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